“What a beautiful start of the day!” Ayush exclaimed while munching cashews and enjoying the mesmerizing view from Monkey point.
“Couldn’t agree more. Trekking and morning view from the hills is a pure bliss.” avowed Ajay, “I am just missing my coffee. Sipping coffee, while enjoying the view would certainly have added to the pleasure.”
“Here you go my friend”, Ayush revealed joyfully, while taking out a thermos full of Ajay’s favourite “Black Coffee” from his backpack.
“You are full of surprises man!!!” affirmed Ajay with a broad smile.
Both Ajay and Ayush were on a family trip to Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh, to celebrate Ajay’s 37th birthday.
Ajay and Ayush were friends since they were in 3rd standard and now even their wives were best of the pals. However, their friendship had its own share of ups and downs and there was a phase when they had even started avoiding each other.
3 Years Ago
“Your phone is ringing Ajay”, shrieked Sapnaa while doing Yoga in the spacious balcony of her high-rise apartment.
“Who’s missing me so early in the morning!” sulked Ajay with a yawn.
Ajay picked his mobile only to put it on silent mode and slouched on his comfortable couch in the living room.
“Who was it?” asked Sapnaa curiously while wiping sweat from her forehead.
“Ayush……….., must be calling just formality’s sake, to invite me on his mom’s 65th birthday. I got to know from Pankaj about the party……” Ajay said with his eyes closed, still lazing on his couch. He stopped for a while and then continued, “…..there used to be a time when we would plan everything together but now, I get to know about things from others and usually I am the last one to know about it. It feels as if …… as if we are just dragging our “FRIENDSHIP.”
“Who told you to “drag” it? You can always put a “Full-Stop”, if you don’t feel it is going anywhere.” She grabbed a towel and continued, “you are either “in” or “out”, be 100% a part of it or part your ways; and now please don’t give me that crap that he’s my childhood friend and all that non-sense. I know that you guys are friends since you were in 3rd standard; however, what I also know is that you both have grown apart and both of you should also accept the fact.”
Ajay murmured, “…But Sapnaa, I just can’t le….” Sapnaa interrupted by saying, “I am not telling you to leave your friend, all I am saying is either start working on your friendship or accept the fact that things between two of you have changed. My only suggestion to you is, either change it or accept it”
Ajay was not able to digest Sapnaa’s words, nonetheless somewhere he knew she was right. Conflicting thoughts started taking rounds in his head; He didn’t want to leave his friend however, what she said also made perfect sense. There is no point travelling if there’s no destination to reach; no point being into a relationship if none is comfortable.
The Sunday had started on a terrible note. He picked up the newspaper to divert his mind and give his thoughts a break, but all he could see was negativity all around, maybe newspaper was a wrong choice. Then he did what most of us would do when in problem, he called his mom and spoke his heart out. She heard him patiently and then instead of offering him the solution, she simply asked, “You being a banker tell me, how do you decide the rate of returns that you give to your investors?”
“Simply basis the amount of money that they put in. The one who is most regular and invests higher gets the higher returns.” replied Ajay almost instantly
“Relationships are also like accounts, son and like any other bank account there are two key things to earn great returns – Regular and Long-term deposits. When you show affection, you make deposits and when you break a promise or hurt the other person, you make withdrawals. Therefore, it is essential that your deposits are much higher and regular as compared to the withdrawals that you make.” She took a small pause and then continued, “If you have a large reserve, the other person is likely to give you more grace and forgiveness when you make a withdrawal. However, if you have a very low balance or are overdrawn, you have little room for another withdrawal.”
Those profound words had given him the way to mend his shattered friendship. All he needed was to start “investing” and “stay invested” for long-term for superior returns.
As they say “Today is always the best day to start investing”, hence as a proficient banker he took his first step immediately. Not only did he reach at Ayush’s party an hour early to help him with last minute arrangements but also, he was the last person to leave.
He followed her advice and religiously kept nurturing his friendship like one takes care of a plant by watering it every single day and ensuring it gets appropriate sunlight, etc. He would phone him regularly just to know if everything is ok or sometimes only to discuss some trivial things like weather or a trending YouTube video. He would even discuss things like what phone he should buy or what should he gift Sapnaa on their anniversary.
He kept investing without thinking about immediate returns however, Sapnaa’s initiative speeded things up and the investment stream progressed towards a favorable course. She planned a trip to Ajay’s hometown Nainital on Ajay’s birthday and secretly invited all his school friends. It was more of a reunion than a birthday celebration. The party went on until 5 in morning with all the friends reliving good old school days. Spending time with school oldies and relishing those memories not only made everyone feel nostalgic but also triggered the start of another inning of Ajay and Anshu’s friendship.
It took time but his efforts eventually paid-off, as they say with regards to any other investment.